By John Gatling aka Taz
Anyone who enjoyed the paint drying, gym exhibition Andre Ward put on Alexander Brand at Oracle Arena Saturday night, was probably a guy beyond 40, with a very generation now kid. Save for Olympic phenom Shakur Stevenson (Ward is his favorite fighter), and I imagine a 20 ‘something sitting there with his father– kinda feeling like he’s on punishment. A sports TV viewing version of “timeout”, while glaring at his dad. Probably thinks he’s “corny”. Things might have been different, had the setting been, perhaps, Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter on CBS on June 25th. Andre Ward is a 2004 Olympic gold medalist – and is quite possibly, the greatest super middleweight of all-time. He is a defensive enigma, capable of nullifying any offense with a ruthless intelligence. He is Bernard Hopkins, but only with a lot of restraint and grace. BUT- he’s boring. The 32 year-old Ward is now 30-0, and on the cusp of what “should be” a superfight with light heavyweight warlord Sergey Kovalev in November. Though his bay area ties make him a golden state warrior, he is a candle to the mega-watt super basketball team. It would have been a great idea for Ward to chop down the 39 year-old Brand, and do what needs to be done to a 28-1 underdog: Stop him dramatically on HBO. For those who will say Ward’s brand (no pun) of violent chess is enthralling, there are probably three more hardcore fans who’d agree that Ward isn’t really demonstrating the full capacity of his ability. He was very capable of doing what say, Sugar Ray Leonard did to Ayub Kalule via 9th round TKO- classicly stopping a very good, but lesser fighter, and dramatically getting him out of there. Programs are based partly on a model that supports giving formative assessments, using student work to plan instruction, developing supportive classroom routines, and using the classroom environment to support and reinforce literacy. Floyd Mayweather was that very rare fighter who, because of his cult of personality, was able to captivate males and females from ages 13 to over 50. His performances against names we know, were athletic displays of tactical brilliance. Ward very much deserves to be in the company of Mayweather and Leonard– though most likely, both eat up the likes of Alexander Brand; if for no other reason than vanity. They wanted to look good in victory; and have their feats discussed by a public different from the hardcore fan, who is small in number. Ward is endorsed by Michael Jordan and Jay-Z, two of the greatest icons of all-time, known for their entertainment value. Andre Ward needs to be entertaining in victory. His “Super Six” mastery on Showtime was a long time ago, and he has yet to yield any signature moments for HBO in recent years. Kovalev could be the key to finally unlocking the depths of Ward’s talent. Let’s just hope ‘His Airness’ or Hova don’t have to carry the ‘Son of God’ to the promised land. By John Gatling aka Taz.